ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition Review — much cooler than the Founders Edition, but at what cost?
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is supposed to be the "budget" Ampere GPU for now, but when you slap on an overclock, throw on a beefy triple fan cooler and increase the price... Is it still worth getting? Well, the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition does try to make compelling arguments for itself...
3 + 1 Year Warranty
+ Rugged design and thick cooler looks great
+ More display outputs than NVIDIA's reference
+ Good performance up to 1440P, and 4K with DLSS
+ Runs significantly cooler than Founders Edition
+ Power LED warning system is nifty for troubleshooting
- Priced too close to budget RTX 3080 options
ASUS did an amazing job with the TUF Gaming cards this generation, with a beefy two-part cooler. Some testers have also found it to outperform the more premium ROG Strix cooling solutions, although we will have to put that to test soon. With that said, while the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition looks pretty similar to the TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 OC Edition on the outside, the cooler is actually quite significantly redesigned. And with that, let’s see what does the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition bring to the table here.
ASUS obviously reused the design of the packaging across their lineup of the TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 30 series, with similar design elements across the range. You will have to pay close attention to the green area to really know what you are getting, or maybe just take a look at the amount of VRAM on offer, which ASUS has thankfully emblazoned on the front here. ASUS is well prepared for any upcoming GPUs with larger VRAM, eh? The back is where you will find more information about the features of the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition.
In the package you get all the necessary documentation, including a trading card. I honestly have no idea how does ASUS plan on us collecting them, but hey, it’s a cute gesture. But that’s about it. I am very thankful that we don’t have to see driver CDs anymore.
The ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition itself, as mentioned earlier, looks exactly the same as its bigger, badder brethren. Three large 90mm Axial-tech fans take up most of the space here in the metal shroud. Of course, ASUS added a touch of style with some nice TUF motif across the blank space, as well as some brushed metal touches, making for a pretty sweet looking card. It probably goes without saying that this card should cool significantly better than the FE card.
Over on the back, the backplate is redesigned for the GeForce RTX 3070. Instead of the spring-loaded backplate which should improve the mounting pressure on the larger GA102 GPUs, the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition here sports spring loaded screws. The capacitor array behind the GPU die is also significantly smaller, which shouldn’t be an issue given the lower power demands of this card. For some reason ASUS also decided to give the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition some cutouts to show off its output filter capacitors on the back of the card, something which was absent from the TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards.
On the side here is where you will notice another rather major difference. Instead of having the secondary heatsink fill the entire space under the shroud with aluminium fins, you now have a rather large gap between the PCB and the fan shroud. ASUS did redesign the entire cooler for the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition, but it does seem kinda weird that ASUS decided to cut away the aluminium fins in that area.
On that note, the rear array of VRMs are cooled by a thick metal heatspreader, instead of the main heatsink block. The row closest to the PCIe bracket is cooled by the main heatsink though. Perhaps the VRM towards the rear of the card are for the memory and non-core power rails, which have to handle much less current, and will thus put out less heat. Speaking of power, the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition requires two 8-pin power connectors, unlike the Founders Edition which only needs one.
Outputs are above reference spec, which calls for three DisplayPort 1.4a and one HDMI 2.1 outputs. Regardless, you can only use up to four monitors at once, so this is only really for convenience sake if you want to use two HDMI monitors, as you can do so with the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition without having to get adapters.
The rear end of the GPU is just as beefy, with the same two screw holes for the GPU supports. This is another area which you can see that ASUS really cut down on the cooling. Instead of six heatpipes sticking out here like what you get with the GA102-based cards, you only get four here. With that said, this is probably the perfect number. The GeForce RTX 3070 is rated for significantly less power, so the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition should run perfectly fine with just four heatpipes.
RGB lighting wise, the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition looks exactly the same as its bigger brothers. You get what looks like an ARGB badge extending out from the fan shroud here, and that’s about it. In a standard installation, you will see the TUF Gaming logo light up, but if you install it in a vertical GPU arrangement, all you see will be a color bar.
ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (GA104)
|Clocks||Base Clock: 1500MHz
Boost Clock: 1815MHz (+90MHz over FE)
|Cores||5888 CUDA Cores
184 Tensor Cores
46 RT Cores
|Display outputs||3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
2 x HDMI 2.1
|Power connector(s)||2 x 8-pin|
|Interface||PCIe 4.0 x16|
|Dimensions||30.0 x 12.69 x 5.17 cm
|CPU||Intel Core i9-10900K @ 5.1GHz|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG Z490 Unify|
|Memory||2 x 8GB T-Force Xtreem ARGB 3600MHz CL14|
|Storage||120GB Kingston UV400
960GB Kingston UV500 SATA SSD
1TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V1200 Platinum|
|GPU Driver||NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Drivers 456.96|
In Superposition, we do see the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition pull off a rather significant lead over the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition. Quite an interesting result, but we can see that it still doesn’t touch the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
Time Spy has the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition coming out on top of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, along with another nice lead over the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition. It is still a far cry from the GeForce RTX 3080, which is unlike the situation between the GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090.
3DMark Port Royal is where it makes a rather nice surprise. It ekes out a small win over the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, a feat that the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition was not capable of. Perhaps we will see similarly significant gains in gaming too? Well… Not really…
On average we are seeing a different of a few frames extra with the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition over the Founders Edition, thanks to the mild overclock on the GPU.
4K performance is good, but not exactly great. Most of the games tested run below 60FPS, which is not really acceptable. Control with DXR enabled chugs at just 22FPS, but DLSS does helps things quite significantly. Still, I wouldn’t recommend any GeForce RTX 3070 for gaming at this resolution anyway.
1440p is the sweet spot for the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition, with the less demanding games delivering a high refresh rate gaming experience at this resolution. With the sole exception being Control with DXR enabled, we see every game delivered at above 60FPS, which is what I consider to be the bare minimum of a playable experience.
FHD is a cakewalk for the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition, with it capable of above 60FPS even in the most demanding game and settings we have in our arsenal. To be entirely honest, last-gen cards are plenty good enough for 1080p anyway, so if you can afford a GeForce RTX 3070, you might want to consider upgrading your monitor to a 1440p one at the same time.
Temperatures were maintained under 62°C at all times, although we can almost call them spikes as they were observed very infrequently, with the GPU temps hovered around 60~61°C for most of the 30-minute Superposition run. When compared against the Founders Edition, the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition’s cooling solution definitely blows the former away by being able to keep the GA104 at least 12°C while it was pulling close to 240W, or an extra 20W, and running at 1918MHz on average, or about 100MHz faster. The fans spun at an average of 1622RPM to maintain this level of clocks and thermals.
That was in in the Performance BIOS. As previously observed, the Quiet BIOS doesn’t drop clocks nor the power consumption. All you get is a slightly smoother fan curve, but it isn’t that significant. The temperatures end up being the same, despite the fans spinning about 40RPM slower at steady state. Yeah, there’s almost no difference between the two BIOSes.
Regardless of the BIOS, the fans stop at 38°C. Interestingly enough, the Quiet BIOS sees the fans start slightly earlier at about 54°C. The Performance BIOS’ fans only start at 60°C, although the fan immediately ramps up to 1000+RPM.
ASUS delivers a great card with the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition. There’s no denying that. It runs up to 12°C cooler than the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition, while also having about 100MHz higher clocks. Difference in real-world gaming performance is negligible, but ignoring that, you are still getting a much cooler card with ASUS’ TUF Gaming design, thermally and design.
The only issue is its price. For the better cooler and 90MHz factory overclock, ASUS Malaysia is asking for RM3199. That’s a good RM500 higher than their ASUS DUAL GeForce RTX 3070 offering, which will come in at just RM2699. If you don’t mind possibly higher temps and probably slightly louder fans, there’s little reason to get this over the more wallet-friendly option.
But that’s probably not the worst threat to the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition. ASUS is also offering the
TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 for RM3360 . It’s significantly faster by around 30%, and yet only RM161 more expensive. (ASUS Malaysia has adjusted the pricing of the TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 to RM3599) If I am shopping for a graphics card in this price range, I would just make the step up to a GeForce RTX 3080. Unless maybe you really need a new card right now, as the GeForce RTX 3070 cards are supposed to be in better supply than the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards.
Our thanks to ASUS Malaysia for sending us the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 OC Edition for review.